In the last week of August we went camping in South Devon. It was a bit late in the summer but due to work commitments. it was the only time we could go. We were all looking forward to getting out of London and having a holiday and my husband and I hoped we’d have time sit back and relax and have time to reflect and enjoy drinks outside our tent each night once the kids had gone to bed.
It turned out it wasn’t going to be that kind of holiday!
On day one my mobile phone took a dip in the sea thanks to me chasing a Sainsburys bag into it, and our ipod with all our relaxing tracks also went with it. I cried bucket loads not for the concerns I had about if I was still in contract or had to buy a new phone. It was more of a release of all the emotions and anger and upset of the last 6 months with both our precarious job situations and home schooling, lockdown etc that came pouring out. It was cathartic.
My jeans and the rest of my clothes got soaked so I had to wear my sarong a vest and my rain jacket the rest of the day. Even when we went to Dartmouth quite a smart and beautiful seaside town! (Tee hee). I went into shops to see if I could get any trousers to wear that would dry quicker than jeans and was told I wasn’t able to try anything on. Being in between sizes this isn’t something that ever works for me especially with trousers so I was left to wonder the streets in my sarong and rain jacket. Another gift of Covid!
What can I say about the weather – it was changeable! We got the full English! –We had to take clothes for all weathers every day. We had heard there may be storm but having survived one in our tent before we thought we’d be OK. On Tuesday morning we woke up to windy weather. I went to the loo at 6.50am and thought it wasn’t too bad. At that moment, a gust of wind hit our tent full on and ripped our porch. It then started collapsing and I had to scream for my husband to get out of bed! – Luckily, some kind teachers came to help save the day and we quickly got the kids in our car while we salvaged our stuff and took down the remains of the porch and manage to salvage our tent. Later another pole broke but we managed to use the other spare one from our porch and the farmer who owned the field kindly leant us his trailer for the rest of the holiday so we could store our food and kitchen equipment in it.
We took the kids to an otter sanctuary in the pissing rain, sheltering on an empty train platform to have our lunch. Then thought we’d drive round Dartmoor National Park. As we were driving through the skies suddenly cleared. We missed an official viewing spot so my husband took a small road and we parked up and started to walk up towards a Tor (rocky outcrop). When we got there, we saw probably one of the most beautiful views I’d ever seen. It was 360 degrees in all directions and beautiful and varying countryside in every direction you looked.
I have many happy memories of the holiday playing ‘dessert charades’ with the kids, my son teaching us the Charleston, eating the best scones I’ve ever had in the pissing rain and wind! Watching my husband and the kids body board in the pissing rain while I took shelter under some rocks!
Yes, there were times when my husband and I bickered and got angry at ourselves and each other and our kids managed to get us to stop. Yes, we had our less good moments and there was even one time when I even hankered after my lost youth and figure after seeing a load of 20 somethings on the beach. But none of these lasted long.
We didn’t get the time to chill out and relax like you might do on a beach holiday. We didn’t even get much of a chance to speak at night – we were too exhausted! What we got and what saw was that whole holiday was like a metaphor for the last 6 months and what we had learnt during that time. When we went with the flow of life and dealt with each thing as it came and were open, things occurred to us to do. We could enjoy the moment in all its craziness. When we fought it, we were mainly fighting with ourselves. Yes there was stormy weather but we were able to ride it out and even enjoy it just like we can with our stormy thinking. When it cleared even more beauty and clarity came into view just as it always does. You see there is always light, beauty and 360 degree views that help us work out what to do moment by moment we just innocently cloud it by getting stuck and caught up with how we want things to be different from how they are now or worrying about the future. I say this as much to me as to you because its something we are constantly forgetting and remembering.
This is a time of year leading up to the Jewish High Holidays that many people see as a time of self reflection and even though I didn’t get the time I thought I would to reflect in the traditional sense I learnt you don’t always have to stop completely to learn from life lessons you just have to pick up the clues as you go and learn from those.
To those celebrating the Jewish New Year today and everyone else I wish you health, happiness, peace of mind and light, and liteness in these strange and changeable times.
Much love to all.
PS Thanks to my NisaNashim Jewish Muslim sisters who I shared this with and helped me to see this to be able to share it with you.